People are a little miffed about the President’s decision to travel 6 miles to a sign factory at the Maryland-DC border by helicopter instead of motorcade. I can understand why people out there to our west (and that means everything west of about Cumberland, MD) would look at that as an extravagance. It seems a bit much, making a 20-minute car ride into an 8-minute helo trip. But we locals are just fine with it. You see, every time the President mounts up in the limo, there’s a motorcade of at least 4 – and usually 6 – SUV’s that come along. Then there’s the police escorts which are usually 4-6 cruisers or 8-10 motorcycles. Then there’s the advance police presence shutting off all of the cross traffic along the President’s path of travel for at least a mile and in multiple directions so as not to telegraph the exact route the President is taking.
That’s right: not only on the path he’ll actually drive, but along both parallel streets in DC, too.
And if he gets up on the highway, the entire side he’s traveling on gets cleared for a mile ahead and a mile behind. In some cases, they shut down both sides of the highway. To get that level of clearance, they’ll sometimes shut the highway down for 10 full minutes before he passes by and about 5 after he’s gone. That’s 15 minutes worth of traffic on the nation’s 2nd-busiest road system. Having been in my car headed to an appointment when all of this fooferall broke out, I can tell you from direct experience: it sucks. I have zero issue with him hopping in the helo and keeping all of that crap in the air as opposed to destroying the traffic flow on the ground for twice to three times as long.